LACEY, Wash. – With a break here and there, Shadle Park would have been talking about a quarterfinal sweep and a spot in today’s State 3A volleyball semifinals.
Instead, the Highlanders, the 2008 champions, must aim for fifth place.
Fourth-ranked Mercer Island rallied past the sixth-ranked Highlanders 25-27, 25-19, 25-22, 25-13 late Friday as the tournament capped its opening day at Saint Martin’s University.
Shadle (23-7) let the second game get away after leading 18-17 and couldn’t hang on in the third game after turning a 21-17 deficit into a 22-21 lead.
“We had one rotation that we couldn’t get out of, and each time it was the same rotation and they capitalized on that,” Shadle coach Brooke Meyer said.
Mercer Island will meet Southridge and Columbia River will play Holy Names in this afternoon’s semifinals. Both are set for 3:15.
The Highlanders will play a loser-out match at 11:45 a.m. against Oak Harbor. A win would put them in the 6:45 p.m. match for fifth and sixth places.
Second-ranked University (21-8) was stunned in its opener, never threatening Meadowdale during a 25-12, 25-16, 25-19 sweep. It was then eliminated 3-1 by Timberline, the host school.
“It was one of those matches where everything went wrong,” Titans coach Mike Summers said.
“The girls weren’t passing well and we couldn’t run the offense we like to run. …
“I didn’t think Meadowdale was anything special. Most of the stuff was on our side of the net.”
Shadle opened with a 3-1 win over Auburn Mountainview, overcoming deficits of 21-18 in the first game and 17-12 in the second.
Senior Amanda Konynenbelt led the way with 18 assists, eight kills, three blocks and three aces.
Mercer Island served for Game 1 of the quarterfinal with a 24-18 lead.
Shadle scored six straight points for a tie, and fought off the Islanders when they served again to pull out the victory 27-25.
“I’m very proud of them, because this is the first state tournament for any of these girls,” Meyer said. “The last time we went (1998), they weren’t in high school yet.”
Shadle, a six-time champion, is at state for the 23rd time.
U-Hi made its fourth trip, last qualifying nine years ago. The Titans gave Summers brief hope when they scored five consecutive points for a 16-13 lead in the third game against Meadowdale.
“In the third set there were some sparks, but then it kind of reverted back to the things that had been happening all match long,” Summers said.
“A lot of things we practice we just didn’t execute.”